Beating the Odds Summit - Kristian Owens, Michelle Obama, and other group facilitators

Beating the Odds Summit

Sometimes you don’t realize your own strength until you come face to face with your greatest weakness– Susan Gale

In July, I had the pleasure of being invited to the White House to attend First Lady Michelle Obama’s annual Beating the Odds Summit as a group discussion facilitator. The Summit is a part of the First Lady’s Reach Higher Initiative and Better Make Room Campaign. At the event, I joined the First Lady to hear the stories of 130 students who have overcome unimaginable obstacles and succeeded to a post-secondary educational institution. These students represented rural, urban, foster, homeless, special needs, and under-represented backgrounds from across the country.

Aside from the excitement associated with being at the White House for the first time and personally meeting the First Lady, I was very inspired and motivated to hear the stories of these young people. Many of them shared stories similar to those of the clients I work with on a daily basis in my practice. Others made me more conscious of the obstacles I faced in my life and what events and circumstances led me to where I am now. I was reminded of my own personal trauma at the start of my freshmen year at Xavier University in New Orleans, Louisiana when I experienced Hurricane Katrina first hand. This, along with the other hurdles I have faced in life, could have overcome me; they could have prevented all the amazing things I have accomplished so far, including the start of my very own private practice. But I did not give up! Although the road has been rough, I “made lemonade out of lemons” by using my own tragedies to boldly create a life that is bigger than me and helping others heal from their own traumatic experiences. I was able to do all this because of a solid spiritual foundation and support from those around me.

How can you use your experiences to, “reach higher”? What are some ways you can make room for a more fulfilling life? Not sure where to start? I am more than willing to assist you on your healing journey. Your life does not have to stop due to trauma or loss.

Check out photos from the Beating the Odds Summit and video of the panel discussion below!

Beating the Odds Summit - Kristian Owens

Facilitating group discussion with high school students about beating the odds, achieving success, and creating more success while attending college.

Beating the Odds Summit - Kristian Owens

Beating the Odds Summit - Kristian Owens, Michelle Obama, and other group facilitators

Myself and other discussion facilitators with First Lady Michelle Obama.

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